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OSHA launches website to promote hospital safety

OSHA launches website to promote hospital safety

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new educational website designed to help hospitals prevent on-site employee injuries and enhance patient safety.

The Worker Safety in Hospitals website contains a library of factbooks, self-assessment tools and best practice guides for hospital risk managers seeking to identify and address workplace safety needs, improve patient handling programs and implement more comprehensive safety and health management systems within their facilities.

“At the heart of these materials are the lessons from high-performing hospitals that have implemented best practices to reduce workplace injuries while also improving patient safety,” David Michaels, assistant Labor secretary for occupational safety and health, said Wednesday in a statement announcing the site's launch.

In addition to tutorials and best practice guides, the website also contains up-to-date libraries of federal workplace safety and health regulations, as well as links to on-site injury and illness statistics maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“By fostering research to identify injury risk factors and safety interventions, steps can be taken to save costs and enhance service to the patients,” John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said in OSHA's statement.

Privately owned hospital systems recorded 248,100 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2012 — nearly 58,000 of which caused employees to miss work — resulting in workers compensation costs of approximately $2 billion industrywide, according to BLS data.

Among the most common causes of on-site injuries to hospital workers in 2012 were overexertion from lifting and moving patients, slips and falls, and incidents of workplace violence. The most common causes of injury were exposures to chemicals and hazardous drugs, exposures to infectious diseases and accidental hypodermic needle-sticks.